An ancient lake lying beneath thousands of meters of hard permanent frost is being breached for the first time by researchers who have voiced concern over the possibility of bringing back an unknown virus. But after drilling for so long they realize there’s no turning back as only 5 meters remain from the drill and the untouched waters and possible creatures beneath the ice.
For years the surface of the Earth has been rife with mysteries and legends of the paranormal. But few places are quite so mysterious or so filled with legends of the strange creatures that exist at the periphery of our understanding than the mountains and snow of Siberia. And now with Alexei Turkeyev and his team working from Vostok Station in the vicinity of the frozen lake, that mystery is about to get a whole lot deeper. Working in temperatures 89.2 degrees Celsius below freezing, the drill will be reaching a depth of almost 3,500 meters by the time it finally breaches the cold surface. And as they work in hostile conditions almost as cold on the surface as it is packed in the ice, they have to move carefully to ensure the drill bit isn’t broken in these final 5 meters. Valery Lukin told Reuters the experience was comparable to visiting an alien planet.
So what could be hiding there in the waters of these vast lakes beneath a mountain of solid ice? With so much ice all around, the first rays of light would be quite alien to whatever creatures were down there. Whatever developed down there would have to exist entirely without sunlight. But if life was found in this hostile environment, the temperatures present in this lake are actually colder than the surface of Mars even at night. Just before dawn the Martian surface can range from -87 degrees Celsius all the way up to -22 degrees Celsius during the mid afternoon and in some cases even warmer than that. Could life survive in such hostile conditions?
And what other possibilities are there beneath the surface of the water? Though the likelihood of complex organisms is being scrutinized with some skepticism by some, the entirely enclosed environment will be like stepping onto an alien planet for the first time in more ways than one. But the only difference will be, this alien planet will be beneath the ice, and the aliens might start crawling out. Of course even if this was the case, they would have to contend with far warmer climates than what they’re used to. Even most extremophiles are unable to survive in normal temperatures once they have evolved to become acclimated to an extremely frigid environment. This isn’t stopping some from suggesting that the idea of opening up a gap between this mysterious alien lake and our own world sounds like the premise to a horror movie or an apocalyptic tale. Let’s just hope it has a happy ending.